Piaui State - the Quiet Corner of North-East Brazil
Piaui is a state in the far north-east of Brazil, the far interior of which is covered with tropical savannah, the Brazilian Cerrado. The Rio Parnaiba Headwaters National Park straddling four states is a landscape of 300m high red cliffs and mesas which catch the constant sunlight and contrast with the lush savannah covering the ground between them. This hidden corner of Brazil, where Bahia, Tocantins, Maranhao and Piaui all meet, is a remote wilderness, home to few people but many creatures.
The national park (Parque Nacional dos Nascentes do Rio Parnaiba in Portuguese) is rich in biodiversity and a paradise for wildlife and nature lovers prepared to make the long journey to arrive in Piaui. The park is famous as being home to capuchin monkeys who have developed the use of tools to a higher level than any other primate apart from humans. They choose particular rocks to unearth and then crack open encased fruits after placing them on large stones. The park is also home to the largest population of maned wolves in Brazil. Hyacinth macaws, blue and gold macaws and jenday parakeets add colour to the landscape, while burrowing owls make their homes beneath it and king vultures soar overhead.
Not many travellers make it this far into Brazil, but those who do are rewarded with a personal wildlife experience.
The small stretch of Piaui coastline covers the Parnaiba Delta, where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, with islands full of crabs, iguanas, sand dunes, and populations of the magnificent scarlet ibis.
Suitable Destination For: Ecotourism and Wildlife Lovers making their way along the North-East Brazil coastline
Best Time to Visit: April to June is usually the wet season
Essential Sights & Activities: Parnaiba Headwaters National Park; The Parnaiba Delta and its Scarlet Ibis population